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Second string Storm cruise trial

Date
Limped off ... Matt Duffie.

Limped off ... Matt Duffie. Photo: Getty Images

HIGH-FLYING Melbourne winger Matt Duffie suffered an injury scare in his first game back after shoulder surgery as the Storm cruised to a 28-4 win over Queensland Cup side Brisbane Easts in their NRL trial.

Duffie, one of only a handful of their regular starters to line up for the pre-season match, suffered a corked thigh just a minute before halftime at their Melbourne training ground.

He limped from the field and had ice strapped to his leg although he later said the injury was just a "bruise".

Kiwi-born Duffie was making his first appearance since undergoing a shoulder reconstruction just before the finals which ruled him out of Melbourne's charge to the NRL title.

Starting at fullback, he looked sharp with a couple of good runs and scored a try when moved to the wing for the second quarter.

"I felt good," said the 22-year-old, who asked coach Craig Bellamy if he could play.

"I was obviously blowing a bit ... I haven't played since July.

"My runs were fine and it was good to get back out there."

Duffie has added three kilograms to his wiry frame to try to bulk up after two shoulder operations.

"Ever since I've started playing it's been a focus because I've always been pretty slender compared to everyone else," he said.

Halfback Brett Finch, returning to the Storm for a second stint after a season with Super League club Wigan, captained the team while first choice backs Sisa Waqa, Mahe Fonua had a run.

Former Knight Junior Sa'u played the second half and grabbed a try.

They were watched by teammates including captain Cameron Smith and fellow stars Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk.

Melbourne secondrower Tohu Harris opened the scoring in the third minute and the home side were out to 12-4 at the main break, with neither side kicking conversions.

For the final two quarters Bellamy took off most of his first grade contenders, filling the positions with National Youth Cup players.

Finch said he thought the team played well in a seven-try effort, given it was their first hit-out.

"It's always nice to have a gallop after such a long pre-season," he said.

"There were obviously a few mistakes there but I think the coach would be pretty happy.

"There were a lot of young fellas and they played really good."

The Storm play Canberra in Geelong on Friday night in their last trial before flying to the UK for their World Club Challenge against Leeds on Feb 23.

AAP

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